Under the zone of high pressure, bound for the Doldrums
Yesterday evening, the weather forecasts had us believe that the head of the Vendée Globe fleet would experience a good boost in speed overnight as they finally shook off the effects of a ridge of high pressure that had been slowing the progress of the solo sailors for over 48 hours. However, the precious NE’ly breeze, synonymous with slipping along nicely southwards in the tradewinds, kept them waiting… Positioned the furthest over to the West of the leading pack, Sébastien Josse is currently lying in 6th place some 33.9 miles astern of the leader, Armel Le Cléac’h, and is bunched together with Jérémie Beyou and Morgan Lagravière, 4th and 5th at the 14:00 GMT position report.

Besides the technical appeal of the Imoca monohulls and the fascination of an adventure like a solo, non-stop, unassisted round the world yacht race, the sailors’ ability to decipher and analyse the grib files is one of the key ingredients of offshore racing. This is heightened by the fact that the weather is far from an exact science.

Second yesterday at the 21:00 GMT ranking, Sébastien Josse lost ground overnight. Sailing further over to the West and hence the closest to the centre of the zone of high pressure, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild had to contend with lighter winds than forecast: “Last night, the grib files were announcing more pressure, but it didn’t kick in as forecast. We had to make do with what we were given and just accept the fact that rivals like PRB were coming off better than us… Nevertheless, this boat is a reference downwind in light airs,” Sébastien pointed out. “The weather pattern for the start of the race has evolved a great deal between the forecasts we had prior to the start and what we’ve found on the water, but that’s the name of the game! Right now, we’re no longer in the squally system that has coloured our progress for several days, but there’s still a fair amount of instability. The skies are dotted with large bands of cloud and under some of those you have breeze, whilst under others it’s very light. Despite all that, the good news today is that the ridge of high pressure is well behind us now. Our biggest concern at the moment is the wind shadow from the islands, with Madeira this morning and the Canaries further down the track. We’ll have to correctly deal with that before we focus on our entry into the Doldrums.”

In terms of life aboard, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild is fully into offshore mode now and the negotiation of the ridge of high pressure will have at least given him the benefit of some good chunks of rest after the initial taxing days of this race. Indeed, we cannot say it enough, the Vendée Globe is a long-distance race, an IronMan, where the most important thing is to make sure you last. 

Ranking on 10 November at 14:00 GMT
  1. Armel Le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire VIII) 23,243.4 from the finish
  2. Vincent Riou (PRB) 16.6 miles astern
  3. Paul Meilhat (SMA) 27.9 miles astern
  4. Jérémie Beyou (Maître CoQ) 32.6 miles astern
  5. Morgan Lagravière (Safran) 32.8 miles astern
  6. Sébastien Josse (Edmond de Rothschild) 33.9 miles astern
  7. Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur) 62.9 miles astern of the leader
  8. Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 65.5 miles astern
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